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About the Author: John Immel, Asheville, NC

Hing (Asafoetida)

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Hing (Asafoetida) Ayurveda Medicinal Properties
Vata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifyingDigestive Effects Help
Experiences are Personal
Experiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary.
Effect: Rajasic, Alkalizing
Recommended for: Autumn-Winter
Type: Spices
Subtaste: Aromatic
Color: Brown

Serving Size: 1/16 tsp
Species: Ferula assafoetida
Family: Apiaceae
Pharmacological Effects
About Pharmacological Effects
The list of actions below have not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
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ayurvedic perspective

Hing & Digestion

In Ayurveda, hing is used to aid digestion, cure colic, and stagnation in the GI tract. Hing burns ama. It is a primary herb for Vata. It is a key ingredient in the formula hingvastak churna, a major digestive formula in Ayurveda.

In western herbalism, hing reduces the growth of flora in the gut, especially candida, directly reducing gas. It destroys worms and has anti-viral properties. It was used to fight the flu during WWI.

Hing & Nervous System

Hing is a powerful antispasmodic useful in cough, asthma, intestinal colic, and uterine spasms. It nourishes the nervous tissue in case of stagnation with high Vata, sciatica, paralysis, and epilepsy.

Hing, Gynecology, and Reproduction

The hot and stimulating qualities of hing clear stagnation in circulation (vyana vayu) due to obstruction by high Kapha thus warming the uterus and stimulating menstruation. Hing prevents spasms and is used with ashoka and turmeric for painful menses (dysmenorrhea).

Hing treats low libido, impotence, and encourages ovulation and fertility where the uterus is congested from Kapha. Curiously, it has also been used as a contraceptive, perhaps by employing the anthelminthic qualities topically to destroy semen. Hing is abortifascient and should not be used in pregnancy.

Also known as devil's dung, stinking gum, food of the gods, and giant fennel, hing has a varied and suprising diversity of uses. Along the Tex-Mex border hing was used for wolf bait. The odor attracts wolves. In Jamaica, hing is used to protect the fontanel of newborn babies from spirits. Once common in Europe during Roman times, hing is relatively unknown to the modern western palette. It's latin name, asafoetida, literally means fetid-resin and attests to it's unique smell and derivation process from root sap.
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buying & preparation
Asafoetida is in the carrot family. Typically the resin is extracted from the roots. Then, to dilute the potency, the resin is made into a compound with 30% hing resin, rice or wheat flour, and gum arabic. One of our users recommends, "I keep it double wrapped in my cupboard lest it stink up the joint!" We agree. Pure hing turns milky white when dissolved into water .

Purchasing Options on Joyful Belly

Hing (Asafoetida 3.5oz)
Vata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifying
A warming digestive and anti-spasmodic in block form.

Browse Recipes
As the most mysterious of the famous root spices (turmeric, hing, ginger, garlic, onion), hing has a lot to teach us! In general, root spices impart warm, hearty, grounding, rustic and savory flavors.

Cooks commonly employ hing in daals, kitcharis, and other lentil dishes to make them more digestible.

One user of our website quotes, "Hing fried in ghee mellows to the point where it becomes less like wolf-bait and more like warm garlicky goodness." Use mellow, fried hing for digestive, nervous, and gynacological disorders. Raw hing may be used for chest conditions requiring stimulation.

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.

John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.

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In rural Georgia, hing was tinctured in corn whiskey and given for colds and flu. I learned this from the late Inez Culver who grew up there, at a time when the white doctors wouldn't treat the rural blacks and they had to rely upon their own medicines.

- Karen Vaughan, Brooklyn, NY, 01-20-10 (Reply)
how many parts hing to how many parts alchohol is mixed together for tinctured?
- miimii, 12-03-12 (Reply)

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